Australia's zombie election

What do y’all out down there in Quillette-land think? May the better zombie win? I just looked at the most recent polls and it certainly looks like it’s a going to be ‘dead heat’ to see who is deader.

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Be careful what you wish for…

The polls…. :roll_eyes:
The most interesting thing to note about the polls is the current PM has made up a lot of ground in just the last few days according to ‘betting odds’ ( :musical_note: & this is how we do it :musical_note:) so this could even increase.

But I suspect (& hope) these factors maybe the most reliable indicators:

Only one zombie in this race…

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Take it from a Canadian, the government runs best when run by dull civil servant types. Before the ‘colorful’ and semi-competent Justin we had the un-colorful and very competent Harper. They say that in Switzerland, the best governed country in the world, even the Swiss themselves can’t name the head of the government. I’ll bet in the whole world there’s not one person in 100,000 who can name him – or is it her or xer or xe or zer? … nobody knows and that’s good.


I’m Australian, but I’ve been in Canada for the past five months, and I’m completely out of touch with current Australian politics.

My usual voting philosophy is that my vote is very unlikely to make a difference to the outcome (certainly in the House of Representatives, I live in an electorate rated “very safe” for its existing representative; a small chance it could matter in the Senate), but when I vote (legally required, one has to pay a fine otherwise), I usually vote third party, in order to boost whatever “micro-parties” or independent candidates seem the most appealing. That’s a “difference” I can make.

If I think back on the major parties… I remember putting Labor ahead of Liberal in 2007, the relatively youthful government of Rudd seemed like a timely change after ten years of Howard. In 2013, when Abbott got in, I remember being very struck by how endless stories of bureaucratic reformist activism (which I associate mostly with Gillard) suddenly disappeared from the news. After 2015, I became very worried about “open borders” and that made it hard to imagine supporting Labor again; even if their official border policy was indistinguishable from the Liberals, Labor’s coalition included people who talk only about compassion, and never about the risks, or about how many immigrants would be too many.

Then of course we had Covid, and the borders were more closed than they have ever been. And as I said, I’m now in Canada and out of touch. If I was still back in Australia, possibly I would be thinking about the country’s position in the world, when I tried to calculate my vote. There are huge economic and geopolitical shifts happening internationally, and the increasing hostility between China and Australia is quite concerning for me. But this doesn’t seem to be a topic of discussion in the political news I see.

Well, by chance I actually happened to be back in Australia in time to vote. I went to the polling station with two thoughts on my mind.

First, I had returned to anecdotes of shortages and housing worries, and yet the major parties were focused on home buyers. So I thought my vote should be a statement for the next social class down (the one that I belong to), the renters, basically.

Second, I do like to assert my futurist principles. I think it’s crazy that the human race hasn’t made it a top priority to cure aging, and that possibly the most important task facing us right now, is figuring out how to make superhuman AI, safe for humanity.

I studied a few of the Senate parties before I headed out to vote. There was one, called Fusion, which was a literal fusion of the Science, Pirate, Secular, and Climate Emergency micro-parties, and which made anti-aging a front page issue on their website. That undoubtedly came from the Science Party, formerly the Future Party, which started out with some genuinely radical futurist ideas (another was to build a new high-tech city of immigrants, to be called Turing).

I also noticed a party with two Senate candidates who were former Quillette contributors, Drew Pavlou and Simon Leitch. This “Democratic Alliance” is fanatically anti-China - e.g. elsewhere in the country they had Uighur and Tibetan candidates - which I think is an unwise political choice for Australia; but on their website they also said “tackle poverty and homelessness”, which did catch my eye.

Anyway, I got to the polling station, and was given a ballot with 7 candidates for local member of parliament, and another ballot for the senate, much more than a meter wide, listing more than a dozen slates of candidates. I still wasn’t sure how I would vote, and meanwhile I was reminded that I couldn’t just pick my single favorite candidate, and leave it at that.

Australia has preferential voting. You don’t just choose your favorite, you also choose a second, third, etc preference, and these lower preferences also go into the final count. And for my vote to count, I had to rank all 7 lower house candidates, and at least 6 of the senate listings. I’m sure that years ago, just choosing your Number One was also allowed, but these days, you have to write out your preferences as well.

Ironically, the compulsion to make such a detailed choice, when I hadn’t figured out my preferences in such detail, led me to instead nullify my vote by writing a message on the ballots. For the lower house, I wrote RISE UP RENTERS, and for the senate I wrote AUSTRALIAN TRANSHUMANIST PARTY (the name was suggested by my wife).

I was a little unhappy that I hadn’t settled on an actual voting choice. My vote is not likely to decide any electoral outcomes, but adding to the official tally for a micro-party or an independent candidate, could make a difference for those candidates or the policies they support. But at least I did resolve the tension between the “two thoughts on my mind”, with which I had entered the voting booth.

Those are my election confessions for 2022.

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One time I wrote “Captain America” on the ballot.

If I could change just one thing here that would be it – the ranked ballot.

One day I’m going to found the United Species Party.

Our last fiscally responsible government was the LNP Coalition with John Howard as PM. Granted, Australia enjoyed China’s love of our commodities (and robust commodity prices) at the time, that government managed to pay down our foreign debt to $0. Subsequent governments, both LNP and Labor have managed to wind that debt back up to north of $800 billion; mostly attributed to GFC and COVID economic measures as far as I know.

John Howard was quite possibly the most boring man in the history of boring men.

Good stuff. Charisma is for movie stars, governments should be run by competent people. Dunno, maybe there – sorta like the Spartans had the war king and the peace-time king, they knew that the guy who is good at the one might suck at the other – there should be two PMs – the charismatic speech making PM, and the boring, competent guy who gets stuff done.

Noice Spartan reference there Ray - the Agiad and Eurypontid lines; they were quite unique eh? Remembering back to leadership training, quite a few civilisations had an expert-based leadership model: if you needed to hunt, you got the best hunter to lead, if you needed to decorate your cave, you’d get “queer eye for the cave guy” to lead and so on.
More recent examples would be General George McClellan - for what I understand, a good peacetime General, but not so good at the art of war: enter Sherman, Grant et al. High competence in one area quite often comes at the expense of other aspects.

How to get this into the culture tho? I think of the Swiss – even the Swiss themselves don’t know who their Glorious Leader is. They don’t have a Glorious Leader, they have a semi-anonymous group of competent people leading the country. To follow your example, McClellan would be the main man for putting an army together, then he hands off to Grant for actually getting blood spilled. They say the Japanese are fairly good at this, the CEO of Toyota doesn’t consider himself to be God made flesh, just a team coordinator and the guy who makes the call is the guy most competent to make it. Not in the Anglosphere tho.

That’s what I’ve been pondering: how to signpost culture-wide virtues in an increasingly secular West. I use the example of Sparta because they managed to break away from the “business as usual” cultural norms of fellow Greeks. How and why did they do it? Outwardly it looks like a totalitarian state, yet equality was a major tenet and there were the dual thrones; they had a deep sense of duty to each other and vulgar displays of wealth were a no-no.

Consider the concept of colour-blindness: it’s not mandated by the state, probably an artefact of religion, but it’s a virtue I’d guess most aspire to, hence the significant backlash against the 1619 project, CRT, IxK style anti-racism etc. What was the vehicle that made the majority of the population reject racism (as classically defined)? Could it have hitched a ride on an innate sense of fairness? I don’t have the answer.

It’s clear we need new virtues to define leadership, as our present cadre have failed us, without apology. Perhaps the woke have something to teach us (without adopting their values); they’ve had an out-sized influence on society.


Surely so. It just ain’t fair to handicap someone for arbitrary reasons. I remember when I was about 7 - 10 and starting to develop my sense of fairness – I’d burst into tears if I saw something unfair. It came from within, it was surely innate, tho no doubt shaped by my upbringing.

I’d say they are exploiting a vacuum, nothing much more.

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The situation now is that most of our rules of ‘virtue’ are either rooted as ‘Christian’ or ‘Judeo-Christian’, or occasionally Talmudic, and are, in essence, defined by something outside ourselves. Possibly the Sparta also saw that,but I don’t necessarily give them credit fro improving it.

Now we have ‘Science’ which purports to understand all things and know all things, but isn’t very good at predicting future implications. ‘Science’ is a poor god, but it is the god we have, because we have rejected any sort of externally defined ideas of ‘good’. Only the material is measurable or wothy of consideration. We here in the forum agree that the interpretation is wrong. But how to dig out?

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Somebody raise a flag somewhere. The Big Tent Sanity and Moderation Party. No fundamentalists need apply.

Agreed. I’m more interested in how they’ve managed to exploit that vacuum so effectively. The long march through the institutions, followed by an explosion of their “ideology” over the internet, etc.

Here in Australia, we have ANZAC Day that prompts us to remember the fallen, and virtues of courage, self-sacrifice and mate-ship. I’m pleasantly surprised at how many younger people make it to the dawn services in Australia, Turkey and several locations in Western Europe on that day.

Who decides what are the useful, realistic values and what aren’t? How are they then broadcast into a secular culture?

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